Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Police reform debate showcases strength of Minnesota legislators of color


Glen Stubbe – Star Tribune file

Rep. Rena Moran, D-St. Paul, is chairwoman of the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus.

The Minnesota Legislature was once a lonely place for state Rep. Rena Moran. After her election in 2010, the St. Paul Democrat was the only black woman serving in the 134-member state House. Just seven of 201 state lawmakers identified as minorities.

"It was taxing," she said. "We [were] trying to represent communities of color's voices through legislative policy and practice and that can get lost in a body of 134 individuals."

By 2017, the share of lawmakers from communities of color had doubled. While Moran was still one of just a handful of African-American legislators, more American Indian, Hmong, Latino and Somali Minnesotans were filling the chamber. With power in numbers, Moran said she found ample "support to look at our work as legislators through a race-conscious lens."


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